Hogs Back Hoppers
Lending a helping hand
We’ve always been very fortunate to have the support of local volunteers in caring for the hop garden.
Helping to bring in the hop harvest (socially distanced of course!) in the fresh air with like-minded people was the perfect antidote after lockdown for the Hogs Back Hoppers in 2021.
A 365 DAY A YEAR JOB
A lot goes into looking after the hops and the garden and there’s just too much for Matthew to do on his own. It’s not just the general maintenance and keeping the weeds under control!
Every autumn over 6,000 hops plants have to be cut right back or “dressed”, so the root ball lies dormant underground all winter.
POOR MAN’S ASPARAGUS
When the weather warms up, the hop plants start to put out lots of shoots. These early shoots won’t produce a good hop yield, so we need to cut them back. They are edible and may look like asparagus, but they are certainly the poor relation when it comes to flavour!
In spring, we start “stringing” – a laborious task to attach coir twine from the pegs in the ground to the overhead wire. Each hop plant needs 4 “strings”. That’s a lot of twine!
The growing hop shoots are trained or “twiddled” around the coir twine to give them support as they grow. Hops are one of the few plants that naturally climb clockwise round the strings.
In some hop growing areas, this process is called “twizzling”.
This is the really fun part! Whether you’re out in the hop garden, or feeding the picking machine, bagging up the hops, putting the hops in the drier, or vacuum packing the dried hops, there’s plenty to do. You might even get to drive the tractor!
SHARING A WELL-DESERVED PINT
But at the end of a hard day, there’s nothing like relaxing over a pint with the rest of the Hoppers.
If you want to become a Hogs Back Hopper and help out regularly in the hop garden, then we would love to hear from you. Just CONTACT US. We usually work Monday – Friday, but we also run some Super Saturdays so everyone can get involved!